Chemical Pregnancy: Causes & Treatment

5 min read

Written by Bindu Raichura

Bindu Raichura

Lwomen hold pregnancy test

A positive pregnancy test is the happiest moment in all our lives. In some cases, it may be short-lived. Many women face early miscarriages even before knowing that they had been pregnant. They go through just like a late period. However, they may not realize that they had actually gone through a Chemical Pregnancy.

So, what is Chemical pregnancy? What are its signs, symptoms, threats, and complications? Let’s learn more about it in this blog. pregnancy pillow

In This Article

What does Chemical Pregnancy Mean?

A chemical pregnancy aka biochemical pregnancy or biochemical loss is an early miscarriage that occurs at an earlier gestational period, even before the woman may find out that she is pregnant.

When does it Occur?

chemical pregnancy occurance

A chemical pregnancy occurs as early as five weeks, even before the fetus can be detected through an ultrasound. The person might have tested positive in-home pregnancy or blood test, but an ultrasound might not detect any fetus after a few weeks. Technically, it is a medical condition where an egg and a sperm combine but do not create an embryo.

The combination means that you are pregnant; that is the reason for a positive pregnancy test. The fertilized eggs produce adequate pregnancy hormones. But, if there is no fetus found in an ultrasound test, you probably have experienced this kind of  pregnancy.

What Causes Chemical Pregnancy?

One of the most important reasons for this is Chromosomal Abnormalities. It may be either or one or more of the following:

  • A sperm or egg may have either abundant or scarce chromosomes.
  • At conception, the zygote has abnormal chromosomes.
  • The zygote is not developed normally due to abnormal chromosomes.
  • The fertilized egg is released during the period instead of implanting it in the uterine wall.

There may also be other conditions that may cause the chemical pregnancy. They are:

  • Infections including Chlamydia or Syphilis
  • Thyroid
  • Diabetes
  • Abnormal hormone levels
  • Low BMI
  • Increased smoking or drinking

Signs & Symptoms

women menstrual cramps

In general, women do not know that a chemical pregnancy has occurred. It may also occur even before a woman realizes that she is pregnant. In some cases, there are no symptoms at all. However, some women may experience the following symptoms:

  • Menstrual-like cramps
  • Positive pregnancy test but bleeding like a period
  • Late period

It is also important to note that just because you have vaginal bleeding after testing positive does not mean you are having this kind of pregnancy, because vaginal bleeding is widespread in pregnancy.

There are a few other signs for you to look out for carefully:

  • Low HCG levels
  • Not experiencing any early pregnancy symptoms
  • Mild to heavy abdominal cramping
  • Risk Factors

Though there is no way to stop this type of pregnancy, there are factors that are vital in placing you at risk:

How is it Diagnosed?

A chemical pregnancy is tough to test. Some women do not even know that they were pregnant. They may feel it like a late period. If you get a positive pregnancy test but get your period in a few days or a week or two, it is better to check yourself tested with a doctor.

The doctors might recommend some blood tests to check what is happening with you. If the blood tests show that your pregnancy hormones are drastically decreasing rather than increasing, you might be experiencing a chemical pregnancy.

What Happens During Chemical Pregnancy?

When does a Chemical pregnancy occur? During pregnancy, the fertilized egg implants itself in the uterine walls and converts them to the placenta. These cells then create the pregnancy hormones HCG (Human Chronic Gonadotropin) to detect pregnancy through blood or urine.

In this kind of pregnancy, the egg is fertilized, but the implantation does not happen. So, the cells don’t develop into an embryo and placenta. But, the fertilized egg creates the HCG hormones. So, you might test positive, but you may get normal to heavy bleeding in a few days just after your regular period was due.

How is it Treated?

couple consulting doctor after miscarriage

The early pregnancy loss may appear like a late period and generally does not require any medical intervention or treatment. But, it is always better to get yourself tested and determine the reasons for this type of pregnancy. If you have any underlying conditions or other medical conditions that result in this sort of pregnancy, it is better to get yourself treated for the condition. You can even try to get pregnant right away without any issues.

Complications Associated with Chemical Pregnancy

To put it simply, there might not be much of a physical complication. But, some women may have heavy bleeding or blood clots and painful periods. However, the emotional trauma it creates is massive. It is undoubtedly saddening and disheartening to trash down the excitement of a positive pregnancy. You need to keep your mind calm, accept it and move on.

Chemical Pregnancy Vs. Miscarriage

Miscarriage is a pregnancy loss that usually occurs within the 20th gestational week, whereas chemical pregnancy is a condition where there is an early miscarriage, usually before the fifth week.

Preventive Measures

Maintaining a healthy and happy lifestyle is a better way to welcome a healthy pregnancy. The following are some of the ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle and prevent this issue:

  • Regular exercise
  • Healthy diet
  • Stress-free life
  • Balanced BMI
  • Iron-rich food
  • Avoid smoking and alcohol
  • Treating the underlying conditions including thyroid, diabetes, and blood pressure levels

If you think you might have had this kind of pregnancy, visit your doctor for a test and treat yourself at the earliest. Don’t forget to keep your emotions stable, and all the best for a successful pregnancy at the earliest.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How Long Does Chemical Pregnancy Bleeding Last?

It usually resembles your period. So, you might have it just like a regular period of bleeding.

2. Will I have a Period after a Chemical Pregnancy?

It is usually followed by a late period.

3. What Does Chemical Pregnancy Bleeding Look Like?

It is usually just like your usual period. But, rarely, you may also have heavy bleeding and blood clots.

Bindu Raichura,MA (English Literature), Delhi University Diploma in Journalism & Mass Communications, Xavier Institute of Communications (XIC), Mumbai

Bindu’s background in English literature paved the way for her writing career. Her vast experience in content across different genres has proved her strong point as a successful writer.Read more.

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